- The Washington Times - Friday, September 15, 2017

The Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School announced late Thursday that it was rescinding its offer for Chelsea Manning to be a visiting fellow.

Ms. Manning, formerly known Bradley Manning, is a transgender activist and former U.S. Army soldier who leaked 700,000 documents of classified information and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence and she was released in May after serving seven years.

Douglas Elmendorf, dean of the Harvard Kennedy School, said in a statement that he did not intend to honor Ms. Manning with the title of “visiting fellow,” but he should have considered how the title would sound before making he offer.

“We did not intend to honor her in any way or to endorse any of her words or deeds, as we do not honor or endorse any Fellow. However, I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a Visiting Fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility,” he wrote in the statement.

Former CIA Director Michael Morell resigned his senior fellow position after the school announced Ms. Manning would be a fellow. He said in a statement that the school’s decision was “will assist Ms. Manning in her long-standing effort to legitimize the criminal path that she took to prominence.”

The current CIA Director Michael Pompeo was also scheduled to speak at the Kennedy School on Thursday, but withdrew after the announcement was made for similar reasons.

SEE ALSO: Michael Morell, former CIA acting director, resigns from Harvard over Chelsea Manning invitation

“Indeed, Ms. Manning stands against everything the brave men and women I serve alongside stand for,” he said in a statement.

Many praised Harvard’s decision to withdraw the offer including former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who was also named as a visiting fellow at the Kennedy School this week.

“I think they made the right decision. Look, I’m no stranger to mistakes. I’ve asked for forgiveness, and people have granted it to me. I appreciate that fact that Harvard has recognized that it was a mistake, [and] that they made the right ultimate decision,” Mr. Spicer said Friday on Fox News.

Ms. Manning tweeted that the school bowed to CIA pressure.

Mr. Elmendorf added that Ms. Manning will still be allowed to speak with students and visit the school, but will not have the title of visiting fellow.

• Sally Persons can be reached at spersons@washingtontimes.com.

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